Roma Program

Since 2012, Harvard FXB has implemented an innovative research and capacity-strengthening Roma program which:

  • promotes the rights and participation of Romani children and adolescents,
  • encourages reflection on past and present state-sponsored violence against Roma, and
  • advocates for Roma rights on academic and policy agendas.

Our Latest Work

In its Summer 2017 issue, the Harvard Educational Review  (HER) published our paper on the Reclaiming Adolescence research project with our partner in Serbia, the Center for Interactive Pedagogy. Jacqueline Bhabha, Arlan Fuller, Margarete Matache, Jelena Vranjesevic, Miriam Chernoff, Boris Spasic, and Jelena Ivanis coauthored “Reclaiming Adolescence: A Roma Youth Perspective.” An op-ed on Voices in Education, the HER blog, accompanied the piece. Go to the blogpost,  “Writing Romani Youth Lives.”

Magda Matache continues her examination of the racialization and othering of Romani people against a white norm in standard Gypsy and Romani studies, with her blog piece, “Dear Gadje (non-Romani scholars).”

Culture Beyond Borders: The Roma Contribution kicked off on April 9 with a very moving one-woman play written by and starring Alina Șerban.  The conference the next day had lively panels and discussion (see the Roma-Conference-2017-AGENDA here; go to our blogpost about the event, Reclaiming Roma Identity; or search back on our Facebook page for some realtime excerpts). The crowd was still buzzing when we had to end the conference a half-hour late. Thanks to our cosponsors, the Berklee College of Music and the following departments and centers at Harvard University: the Center for European Studies; the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights; the Mahindra Humanities Center, the Department of Music; the Provost’s Fund for Interfaculty Collaboration; and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Thanks to all who spoke, listened, and helped.

Read a Weatherhead Center April 2017 blog post about the Roma Program, “A Life in the Margins: Understanding the Roma Experience.”

Read about our new book, Realizing Roma Rights  \and a new blog originally written for University of Pennsylvania Press to mark the book’s publication, “Does Power Listen to Truth in the case of the Romani People?”

Forthcoming: The December 2017 issue of Harvard’s Health and Human Rights Journal will feature a special issue on Roma, “Romani Global Diaspora: Implementation of the Right to Health.

Our Goals

The Roma program aims to shift Romani studies away from the margins of academic interest and toward a central place in social and political theory and in multidisciplinary and multiregional studies. We seek to put Roma rights on academic and policy agendas in the United States and elsewhere by amplifying the voices of leading and emerging Romani scholars and leaders through research, events, and publications.

Our Approach

A cornerstone of our program is the use of participatory action research and case study methodologies to give voice to the issues identified as problematic by Roma themselves, to strengthen the capacity of Roma communities, and to support leadership among Roma youth.

In our work with the Roma, we actively create connections to other communities of scholarship, whether it be those focused on dialogue about reparations for collective injustice; those implementing particular methodologies such as participatory action research; those exploring themes such as hate speech; those delving deeply important fields such as minority studies; those bringing wider perspectives such as intersectionality; or those devoted to artistic expression in celebration and sorrow.

We also work closely with young people and scholars—both Roma and non-Roma—to strengthen their capacity for conducting research ethically and professionally, with cultural sensitivity and community participation.